Mark Terry

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What's Your Process?

January 4, 2009
I'm considering what--or if, I suppose--novel to work on next. I've been playing around with an SF novel. This is just on my laptop and I work on it in the evenings and weekends. If it takes off, it might get moved to my office desktop.

Granted, if either Fortress of Diamonds or Monster Seeker gets picked up, I'll be working on follow-ups.

Part of what I've been considering lately is my own process. It's a creative process, and one that takes into consideration--unfortunately--market issues. It was a lot easier when I focused entirely on the story I most wanted to write and didn't think about whether it would sell. I used to just focus on being a better writer. Now I worry more about the market. After being published, dropped, and trying to break back in, just pursing my bliss, so to speak, no longer works for me. Creatively, if nothing else.

So I do what David Morrell and I gather he got this from a mentor of his, dubbed "test borings." That is to say, he started working on a variety of projects and saw which one bored him.

I do this a lot. So at the moment I've got a couple chapters written of a techno thriller taking place in Antarctica; a couple chapters of a horror novel; a police/forensic procedural I've been noodling with forever; half a manuscript of an espionage novel; a chapter or so of a dark thriller called Dead Memories.

I've also got ideas for follow-ups to the two kids' books and I was pondering the potential of a different one. Which one will I work on? 

I don't know. What I'd most like to work on is the follow-up to Monster Seeker, but I'm not willing to unless there's a deal for MS.

I do wonder, though, if I've shifted away from writing mysteries and thrillers to fantasy novels for kids. I loved those books as a kid and I've found that I enjoy reading them as an adult--I'm currently reading the 2nd book in The 39 Clues, written by Gordon Korman, titled "One False Note." I don't know why the shift, but I'm enjoying it.

So I'll sift around until something catches fire. And then I'll try to write 5 pages a day, tweak it the next day and write another 5 pages or so. And do that until I'm done. Then print it out, give it some rest, then read it out loud while marking up the manuscript, then make the changes, tweaking as I go, and then, hopefully, I'll be done. Although it looks like 2 drafts, it more accurately resembles half a dozen or so, depending on all the tweaking in between actual drafts.

So that's my process. What's yours?

Mark Terry


Blogger Richmond Writer said...

I'm hoping my process isn't as complicated but it might be. Since I've never been published I'm still writing the story I want to write. for me it's just can I write something? What can I research that will give me ideas?

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I write so little that it's hard to say what process I use. Luckily Poisoned Pen Press is willing to publish another Byzantine mystery so that pretty much makes up my mind as to what to work on right now. I will say, as much as I might want to, I wouldn't bother writing a second book in a series until the first one sold. Even if I thought the first book was good and it would fun to write another. Hypothetically speaking....

So I do think of markets, and why not? Why write a book that no one will read? For me, the whole point of writing is to communicate with readers. And for the most part you really need a publisher to reach any reasonable number of readers. While I wouldn't write something I didn't want to write to try and hit a market (and that doesn't work anyhow IMHO) I won't bother with something I don't feel has any marketability.

5:09 PM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

I've been in series mode for almost two years, so buy the time I'm at the end of one book, I can see where the next one will go. Since I'm alternating two and have no choice...

But as for non-pseudonym writing, I don't know yet, LOL! I'm going for quantity this year, and hoping that quantity will lead me to something that works. We'll see!

9:03 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

I write a chapter in the voice I am "trying on." I see if I like inhabiting that voice. If I don't and think the CONCEPT is cool, I may open in a different place, narrate from a different charater's POV. If it doesn't work . . . I may abandon and try something else I am toying with. I play a lot before I settle on something.

2:42 PM  

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